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California Tomatoes

Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of RecipesNow.com

The Healthy Choice for Summer Entertaining

Fresh, ripe California Tomatoes are nature's own health food. Rich in flavour and colour, they add field-fresh taste and texture to all your favourite summer recipes like Bucci's California Insalata Pizza, California Tomato Artichoke Couscous Salad and Rustic California Tomato Bread Salad.

Eating only one or two servings of tomatoes or tomato-based products daily can reduce the risk of cancer and chronic disease. Ongoing work by University of Toronto researchers shows that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red colour, provides protection against cancer, diabetes and heart disease by reducing the chance of cell damage. And when tomatoes are cooked, the lycopene becomes even easier for the body to absorb.

Summertime is barbecue and picnic time. And what would summer be without cool, crisp salads? For the perfect summer salad, don't forget to include red, ripe California tomatoes. You can also add California tomatoes to your shish kebabs for a delicious grilled flavour. Or, cool down spicy fajitas by adding thin tomato wedges. How about chilled tomato salsa on top of grilled fish or barbecued chicken breast for a fresh, tangy summer meal?

California Tomatoes are so versatile, they can be stuffed, baked, boiled, stewed, pureed, deviled, glazed, pickled, grilled or fried. Tomatoes provide 85 to 90 per cent of the lycopene consumed by North Americans. And California Roma, vine ripe and mature green tomatoes are now available in produce departments so you can fill your daily prescription for good health.

Tomato experts also know that tomatoes are, botanically speaking, a fruit. This is because a fruit is the edible part of the plant that contains the seeds, while a vegetable is the edible stems, leaves and roots of the plant.

Refrigeration spoils tomatoes

Like most good things, tomatoes need proper care. Next time you're in the produce department, look for smooth, well formed, firm tomatoes that are heavy for their size and uniform in colour. Once at home, store tomatoes unwashed and uncovered at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for up to one week. To ripen, store tomatoes in a paper bag at room temperature. For the best flavour and quality, do not refrigerate tomatoes. Refrigeration destroys tomato taste and texture and stops the ripening process.

To prepare tomatoes, rinse and remove stem. Leave them whole or cut as desired. Blanching in boiling water will remove the skin.


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